June 2017

Benefits of Eating and Drinking

 “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

The reception of the Sacrament of the Altar is eating and drinking God’s holy meal for you. His true body and blood is given in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine as a means through which God forgives our sins. The Sacrament of the Altar is a means of grace. Where “there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation” (Small Catechism, pg. 31). This is surely a powerful benefit given in the Sacrament of the Altar, part of a healthy diet that God provides and leads us to receive.

Faith Lutheran was blessed to hear Zaquarie Mendenhall confess his faith on May 21st. I am blessed in having been involved in the instruction of forty-six dear souls who have been confirmed at Faith Lutheran over the last fourteen years. A lesson included in those instructions is on the benefits of eating and drinking the Sacrament of the Altar. Matthew 26:28 reveals that there is “forgiveness of sins,” which includes life and salvation. A question that I ask to start this lesson is: “What is the benefit of eating healthy?” I normally receive answers that I group into the following: 1) to continue to grow (usually from the 12-13 year old junior confirmands), 2) to have energy, 3) to be resistant to illnesses.

To expand these thoughts we can see 1) the need for proteins in our diet in order that the essential amino acids are available to have growth.  However, even when we are done growing in stature we still need a constant supply of protein for we are continually replacing cells. For example red blood cells are replaced every four months, skin cells every two weeks, and colon cells every four days; however, the brain cells remain for a lifetime, always in need of good nutrition. 2) We need carbohydrates. These molecules contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of two to one--H2O is water, hence the descriptive name carbohydrates. Our digestive system breaks down carbohydrates to the simple sugar called glucose: C6H12O6. Glucose is the organic molecule that individual cells are able to use for energy. 3) We need a balanced diet which will include fats and fiber.  Healthy fats have important minerals and vitamins that help keep illness away, while fiber is important to have healthy digestion. Growth, energy, and health are the benefits of eating healthily.

The spiritual application is for us to receive a healthy diet of the Word and Sacraments—God’s means of grace—in order that we grow is faith in God, have energy to do His will, and be spiritually healthy.  People who are negligent in receiving God’s diet of grace will not continue to grow in the faith and knowledge of the Lord, which includes knowledge of themselves. These people will not have energy to do the work that God has prepared for them. These people will be susceptible to deceptive, unhealthy spiritual thoughts.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us not neglect the healthy diet of God’s grace that He regularly provides in His Word and Sacraments.

The Lord be with you,                  

Pastor Sam Wiseman